Susan Pascoe, Our Commissioner

This fortnight I’m writing to you from Sydney, where I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) 2016 NFP Governance and Performance Study.

AICD Governance and Performance Study

The 2016 report is the ACID’s seventh annual not-for-profit sector governance and performance study. It’s available now on the AICD’s website.

The report puts a particular focus on the financial stability of the sector, the importance of strategy and collaboration between NFPs, and performance measurement. Changing the relationship with government and challenging perceptions are also highlighted as key issues.

This report is an excellent addition to the existing body of research into Australia’s NFP sector. My congratulations to John Brodgen and his team.

You can read my more in depth thoughts on this excellent research report in our 1 September 2016 media release.

Are Australian Charities at Risk?

Recent media reports regarding the arrest of a World Vision employee overseas prompted me to write a blog post for the Huffington Post Australia. In the blog post I explain the multi-layered requirements that Australian overseas aid organisations comply with.

You can find my blog post at huffingtonpost.com.au/susan-pascoe.

Double defaulters

Last week the ACNC announced that 503 charities have lost their charity status.

This group failed to lodge two Annual Information Statements. This constitutes grounds for revocation. Submitting an Annual Information Statement each year is one of the ongoing obligations charities must meet in order to maintain their status as a registered charity with the ACNC.

Submitting an Annual Information Statement each year, and on time, shows a commitment to transparency and accountability, as this information is made available to the public on the Charity Register.

It is very likely that many of these organisations were simply no longer operating and had failed to notify the ACNC that they were winding up their operations. However, those that are still operating but have been revoked will now be stripped of their Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

On a much more positive note the original group of potential double defaulters, which we published on our website in July 2016, listed more than 1,700 charities. This means that over 1,000 charities logged into the Charity Portal and submitted their outstanding Annual Information Statements, ensuring that they remained registered.

You can find the list of recently revoked double defaulter charities at acnc.gov.au/doubledefaulters, and our media release announcing the revocations at acnc.gov.au/mediareleases.

2016 Annual Information Statement

Registered charities can now log into the Charity Portal to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement. Despite the online form only going live a week ago, over 100 charities have already submitted their statements.

The majority of registered charities will be required to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement by 31 December 2016, however as we have done in previous years, this due date will be extended to 31 January 2017. This is because the ACNC’s office will be closed between Christmas Eve and 2 January 2017, as is the case for most Australian Government agencies.

Despite the significant period of time between now and the 31 January 2017 due date, I would encourage charities to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statement as soon as they can. The system can experience slowness under the heavy loads we see around the common due dates of 31 January and 30 June.

Please remember that there is guidance available on our website to help you, and our Advice Services team are contactable by phone (13 22 62) and email (advice@acnc.gov.au).

You can find the guidance on our website at acnc.gov.au/reporting.

ACNC Corporate Plan 2016-17

Under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), Commonwealth Government agencies are required to publish a Corporate Plan on their website each year. The purpose of the Corporate Plan is to set out the agency’s strategic priorities for the year, which are then reported against in their annual report.

You can find the ACNC’s Corporate Plan for 2016-17, and our previous strategic documents, at acnc.gov.au/corporateplan.

Our annual report, which sets out our performance against our strategic priorities, will be available later this calendar year.

Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference

Last week I had the opportunity to present to a group of dedicated legal professionals that provide services to the sector at the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand 2016 Conference. I was joined by Assistant Commissioners David Locke and Murray Baird.

David’s session touched on the ACNC’s recently published paper that discusses the adoption of a single definition of charity in Australia. It was originally presented at the Tax Institute’s 16th Annual States’ Taxation Conference held in Darwin in July 2016.

The paper was well received at both events, and I suggest you take a moment to read it if you are interested in the ACNC’s view on red tape reduction opportunities in this area of regulation.

You can find the ACNC’s paper A common charity definition? at acnc.gov.au/latestnews.

Telstra Australian Charity Award winner

Earlier this week Telstra announced that registered charities the Snowdome Foundation and Maddie’s Riewoldt’s Vision had won the 2016 Telstra Australian Charity Award, which is a category of the Telstra Australian Business Awards.

The Snowdome Foundation partnered with Maddie Riewoldt’s Vison to fight blood cancers and bone marrow failure syndromes.

Maddie’s Riewoldt’s Vision was founded in 2015 following the death of current St Kilda Football Club captain Nick Riewoldt’s sister, Maddie.

The charities have raised over $11 million over the last five years to fund research, clinical trials and projects to help blood cancer patients gain access to treatment.

It is fantastic to see Australian charities working together to achieve a common goal. My congratulations to all involved.

Good wishes
Susan Pascoe AM

Contact us

Our phone number is 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or you can email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.
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